William MacDonald was born April 26, 1891 in Rossal, Rogart, Sutherland, Scotland. He attended Balvraid School where he appeared in an 1898 Class photo. Try to find him with your mouse.
His paternal grandparents were Neil MacDonald and Ann Campbell.
His maternal grandparents were William Sutherland, a road contractor, and Divinia Sutherland.
This is the first generation able to be traced by the Scots Ancestry Research Society in the 1891 Census Schedules. Prior to that time the records were retained in local parishes. An Internet search of www.origins.net may eventually yield information about prior generations.
When Will was twelve years of age his father died in a quarry accident at East Brora, (Torboll The Mound). His body was taken to Inverness by horse and dray where he is buried.
The oldest of six children, Will had to take on the role of provider to his five brothers and sisters: Neil, Christie (Christopher), Dovey (Dovina), Ina, and Dodo (Donald). His mother Christina lived on Lonemore croft near Torboll until she, Dodo, Christie and Ina retired to Dornoch in about 1944. They stayed at Lonemore while Dodo's modern house with running water was being prepared at 1 Carnaigie Street, Dornoch by the Sea.
Will played the bagpipes and was a horseman and master ploughman at Drummuie Farm, Golspie. There are several pictures taken of him and his horse team at ploughing contests in Scotland. The picture above was taken in front of Skelbo House near Golspie.
Jessie Ross was born March 11, 1895 in East Brora, Lairg, Scotland. Her parents were Roderick Ross (June 27, 1863 - Monday the 3rd of ?, 19??) and Alexandrina (Lexie) MacLeod (June 18, 1867 - 19??).
Her mother Lexie's parents were Donald MacLeod and Chirsty McKenzie. They were married March 9, 1855 in Golspie.
Jessieís father was a shoemaker. The picture below shows him at work behind his home in Lairg, Scotland in his later years. He never came to Canada.
Jessie had ten brothers and sisters:
In 1980 a dedication bearing the names of the MacDonald and Ross family members was placed in Dornoch Cathedral in Scotland by the descendents of William and Jessie MacDonald of Canada. This dedication should still hang in the cathedral.
Will and Jessie were married in Drummuie farm at Golspie, Sutherland Nov 24, 1916. They lived at Pittgrudie farm, Achley, 1/2 mile north of Dornoch, and worked for Charlie McCardy. Their first daughter Christina was born at this farm.
In March of 1920 Will sailed for Canada with members of the Bartlett family who were settled at Yellow Grass. He left with only a 5-pound note in his pocket.
In October 1920 Jessie and 3 year old daughter Chrissie came to Canada.
Jessie traveled with young Chrissie on the TSS Casandra, one of the Anchor-Donaldson Line of Steamers. Their arrival in Montreal among "dark bearded French Canadians" was a daunting experience for a woman with a small child in a strange country.
They made the journey across Canada to Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan by train where Will was working on Jim Johnstones farm with his friend John Mowat, a relative of the Bartletts.
The Johnson farm house pictured here still stands
The next year Will and Jessie rented a farm in the McTaggart area from Jim McCann. Click the picture for a larger image.
They lived there until 1945, raising five children: Christina, Alice, William, Nina and Rhoda.
Alice (Alexandrina) married Sidney Miller of Gravesend, Kent, England. They raised a daughter Sandra in Weyburn. Alice has written several articles describing the days of her youth. Paper Dolls is her memoir story written in loving memory of William and Jessie, her gift to the "MacDonald" grandchildren.
Bill (William Neil) married Ann Ferguson of Edinburgh, Scotland. They raised four children in Cranbrook, BC: Neil, Sandy, Ian and Ann Margaret. Bill carried on the tradition of playing the bagpipes first with the Weyburn Pipe Band then with the Kimberley Pipe Band in BC. Billís (William's) grandson (Neilís son Jock) continues the piping tradition.
Nina married William Patterson of Mount Vernon, Scotland. They raised two daughters in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta: Janice and Shona.
Rhoda Mae married Don Forseth of Kisby, Sask. They raised six children in Weyburn, Sask: Wayne, Wanda, Karon, Ron, Cheri and Nena.
They celebrated their Diamond
Wedding Anniversary in November 1976.
Jessie died in 1982 at age 86.
Will spent the last year of his life in Souris Valley Special Care until his death in April 1983 at age 92.
They are buried in Weyburn,